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Hear from Head Coach - Craig Hayden


There was not a great deal of time off in between seasons due to the restructuring of the coaching group and commencing the recruitment of certain players required to take the next step up. There are 17 coaches distributed amongst the 7 sides. It has been a full on pre season while preparing for the start of the 2023 season in A grade at the Mt Lawley FC. 

We have been training for 14 weeks now and with an adjusted pre season schedule the players are the fittest and strongest they have been for some time, thanks to the assistance of Alex Vernon who has a background in strength and conditioning programs. We have recruited well with some key players such as Cody Rodgers, Matt Zelesco, Josh Hewitt, David Hill and Jeff Ladd all adding important depth to the club. 

We have had a fantastic attitude by the playing group with most players conducting a full pre-season. We unfortunately have obtained some injuries on the way which we are working hard on in trying to get the rehab into the players, to enable a full contingent being available for selection for rd, against Kingsway. 

We have adjusted the game plan slightly to enable the players to play a little more instinctive footy, with a big concentration on having the opportunity in kicking higher scores. We still have a fair few structures that need to be adhered to, but the coaching group wanted the ability to kick higher scores and therefore putting more pressure on the Oppo.  

What is most pleasing is the development that we have been able to achieve with the younger players coming through from colts. This is a massive credit to the coaches conducting the program I have implemented, and working closely with the playing group. Players like Tom Gartside, Addan Peters, Dylan Walker and Fraser Heard have all just finished the colts program and are more than capable of stepping in and playing a role for the league side. With this and the ability to play Cal McVee, who was stiff not to play more senior footy last year due to points and Nic Pemberton who is stepping up after playing 5ths last year, puts enormous pressure on the group to play league footy, which is exactly where the club needs to be. 

The names we have on paper is quite strong, but that is all it is, names on paper! We need to continue to gel and increase the harmony amongst the group. Potentially, there could be up to 8 different payers playing rd1 compared to the Grand Final last year. That is over a third of the side, so all players need to be at their best to put their hand up for selection in rd 1. We should be very competitive right through all the grades this year. 

The club can be happy with approaching rd 1, that the progress the 7 sides have had over the pre season is of a high standard. 

I will leave our sponsors, members and supporters with this. 

As the Head Coach of a proud club in Mt Lawley. I fully expect all sides will be successful in 2023. How do we define success? Well that varies with different people. But, my absolute goal for the league side is to play finals football. After all, isn’t that why we play this great game?  

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